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          Front Page




Two Share Top Baseball Honor

By Ken Sickenger
Journal Staff Writer
    Overwhelming numbers and winning seasons typically add up to impressive honors.
    Such is the case for Manzano's Brian Cavazos-Galvez and La Cueva's Zach Arnett, chosen as Class 5A co-players of the year in the New Mexico High School Baseball Coaches Association's all-state voting.
    Cavazos-Galvez, who will play at New Mexico Junior College next spring, won the Triple Crown in 5A. He led the state in batting average (.636), home runs (14) and runs batted in (50).
    Arnett, who will play at New Mexico, led the Bears to a third straight 5A championship and represented the West in the All-American Baseball Game.
    Cavazos-Galvez was the only Manzano player selected to the all-state first team. Arnett was one of six La Cueva players picked in the voting by members of the coaches association. The other first-team Bears were pitcher Nathan Solow, outfielders Seth Johnson and J.J. Muse, shortstop Scott Gracey and designated hitter Sam Kunzman.
    Runner-up Eldorado had four first-team selections: Pitcher Greg Wilborn, outfielder Chad Akenhead, third baseman Kyle Weiland and designated hitter Brett Elwell. Semifinalist Las Cruces also had four first-teamers, including James Lilley, who was picked both at pitcher and third base. Other Bulldawgs include pitcher Alex Mancha, first baseman Larry Meraz and second baseman Daniel Gonzalez.
    Players of the Year in other classes were Farmington's Jarrad Watkins (4A), Cobre's Jason Marin (3A) and Sandia Prep's David Mann (2A).
    No all-state team was selected for Class 1A because of insufficient votes being submitted by 1A coaches. Rio Rancho coach Ron Murphy, who is vice president of the NMHSBCA, compiled the votes and said coaches' participation was low in every class. Some coaches voted only for their own players.
    "It's a shame because there are some deserving kids who won't make all-state because their coaches didn't vote," Murphy said.
    Only 26 of 99 baseball coaches responded overall, Murphy said, including eight in 5A.
    Murphy said the NMHSBCA sent fliers to every baseball-playing high school around the state during the season requesting all-state votes. Many were then followed up with phone calls.
    "Sometimes it's not just the coach who drops the ball," Murphy added. "The athletic director or secretary may not get him the flier, but then it's up to the coach to look for it."
    Murphy said he plans to suggest changes in the voting process, including possibly banning players whose coaches do not submit all-state ballots.